Monday, March 31, 2008

Piece of Cake

To be honest, Saturday afternoon I had already planted the seed in my brain about bagging out on the POC race. I rode only 2 hours or so during the week before, my training has really derailed over the past 2-3 weeks. I planned a ride time Saturday afternoon as a little leg opener, (I would depart from OMSI, where the family and some of the kids friends were taking in the dinosaur exhibit) and then it started raining and hailing like mad, and I basically wussed out.

So, Sunday morning comes and I eat like it's a race day (oatmeal & eggs, baby), pack my stuff and figure that I've pre-paid, so I better make a go of it. It's funny, because for 'cross racing I prefer crappy weather, yet here I am being a pansy over some rain for a road race. It's the race duration I guess, 45 minutes of freezing is OK, but 2+ hours?

I arrive at the Loomis parking lot to find JB, Frost, Reid, DeShaun, Csaba and Mike Mann all doing yoga after their races. Frost had the race won, until he found out he jumped off the front on the 2nd lap, instead of the 3rd (note: get that man a simple bike computer to display mileage;). In true Frost fashion though, he hung in and got back on after blowing himself up.

Mike Mann seemed to enjoy his first ever road race. He touched on the common theme that it's a more mental type of race than 'cross, and can be difficult to be assertive and confident in moving up through the field.

Csaba created a couple of gaps, though off the back instead of the front. TWO FLATS! Luckily he put in two front wheels to the "wheels in=wheels out" support car, and pulled a heroic effort in catching on to the group each time, and throwing down for a strong finish effort.

Reid raced a road race. The post race interview took place in the porta-john line. Reid said it was hard. The interview didn't get too much more than that. Chin up Reid, nobody said it was easy! You did fine.

Word is that there was mayhem and discontent in the 1/2 race, and also some frustration in the men's and women's cat 4 races. Thankfully, the race I was in (40+ cat 4/5) went pretty smooth. The race started with Pacific Blue Sky (or something, it's the new version of EWEB team) sending a guy off the front then obnoxiously blocking up the entire road for futile break. A few minutes later the logjam cleared and the break was caught. On the first lap, up on the levee, Dave got a reprimand for crossing the yellow line while we were moving up. I continued up and rode a good spot between 3rd and 12th for a while.

I mentally have trouble in holding up where I need to be, and found myself drifting back, and eventually surging back up towards the front. This was easy for the first two laps, but very difficult on the final lap. No breaks lasted more than 2 minutes, even the one that I jumped on for some stupid reason. Also, at this time the rain started turning to hail then snow, then back to hail. This was actually kind of cool and I had fun, a true spring classic atmosphere. My legs felt good, but Dave and I were now hopelessly back in the last 1/4 of the peloton. We moved up a little on the last 8 mile stretch and punched it after the last sharp left turn. John said we both jumped hard and picked up at least 20 places.

Dave finished around 28th, and I was 33rd. Lessons learned: Stay at the front, it's hard, but not as hard as yo-yoing at the back. Be (warning-rated R for language) mentally harder, and don't give up positions.

Final thoughts: We should all be proud of DeShaun! This is a great kid, who's putting in the effort and is really interested in the sport. Welcome, new road racers Mike, Csaba and Reid all had their first road race. JB, Paris, Csaba, Dave Wingard and family spent the whole day supporting the team with tents, food, rollers. THANK YOU! JB also did his OBRA duty by driving wheels and support for morning and afternoon races.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 15th/16th Practice news

Welcome back Justin Serna who after many years racing
for Cyclisme and years away spent racing a motorcycle,
his renaissance with the Fixies has been well timed

Yesterday it was Justin's skill and exuberance that
cheered on the progress of Paris and Glen while they
staged a mini criterium on the PSU velodrome at the
top of Jackson street. Emulating the velodrome
"exchange," but this time on wet, off camber corners
while cars pulled out, they accomplished a 50 lap,
half hour crit with style and grace, and moreover,

Then Sunday, a stalwart crew of Sautter, Gerwing,
O'Brien, Wicker, and Kormendy met and decided to
rehearse the Lead Out strategy fundamental to success
in flatter races like Piece of Cake.

We decided to go to the close, and quite Swan Island
Crit location, "Cutter's Circle." There we rode
pacelines, had an all comers sprint for selection's
sake, then set up lead out formations.

After a few of these high speed sprints, everyone was
beginning to taste their breakfast. It is amazing
how, despite so many difficult miles chasing the Rocky
Rabbit up on Skyline this Winter, it is still a
wholly other physical system that gets utilized for
big power sprinting.

Ironic it seems that the Fixies go 0-60 straight out
of bed but can bonk 10 miles in, while the roadified
men's squad has marched over hill and dale and taste
cookies in a sprint practice.

I am so glad. This is a sure sign of a great program.
Specialists are doing their respective jobs and
getting ready for the season in a way that is

Congratulations to everyone in the Cyclisme embrace.
You are all doing a great job!

Goals ahead:
March 30th, at Piece of Cake in Woodland Washington,
and May 3 at the Velodrome for the Kautsky Memorial.

Best Regards,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Daly City

So, work brought me down to the Bay Area this week. After a morning in Gilroy (where last year I spotted a half dozen Team CSC PRO's on a ride during their training camp), I headed up to my childhood home in Daly City. My parents still live here, in the house I grew up in. DC is a very foggy city. Foggy to the point that it drives people mad. I hated it in high school, but kind of like it now.

Near my childhood home is a place called The Hill. The Hill is about an 8 acre patch of weed covered sloped dirt, bordered by bunch of row houses, a hospital, and the "sports" field of my elementary school. The Hill holds many of my best childhood memories. It was where as 10 year olds we would apply ski wax to scrap cardboard and have cardboard sliding races down some gnarly steep pitches. At 11-12 we would catch toads, western fence lizards, skinks, and garter and gopher snakes. At 12-13 we set up BMX race courses and jump tracks and blew up lots of illegal fireworks (the kind that came from Chinatown). At 15-16 we used the The Hill for more nefarious activities, then would bomb down the BMX runs and jumps in compromised mental conditions.

The Hill used to be a pig farm, and the concrete foundations are still there. As kids we used to find all kinds of pig bones and pretend we were archeologists (then try and freak out our parents by coming home with them stuck out of our sleeves...)

I visited The Hill today, and it made me sad. It is now surrounded by cyclone fence. To keep kids from getting hurt, and maybe sueing somebody, I suppose is the reason. I remember getting hurt as an almost cool thing (not REALLY hurt, you know, just broken arm kind of hurt). I hope my play with my own kids can reflect some of the devil-may-care attitude that I once had, but it seems so hard sometimes to let that happen. I think I've been partially conditioned by the Nation Of Fear syndrome that mass media has bombarded us with. Scary and disappointing, but I think true.

Anyway, after checking out The Hill, I rode out to the coast on an absolutely beautiful 65 degree partially cloudy but mostly sunny day. A light breeze smelled of salt air, turning to Eucalyptus as I descended Skyline to Lake Merced. I headed left up to the Great Highway and down along Ocean Beach. There weren't too many surfers out, but a handful of other cyclists and a few weekday beach people. Ocean Beach is nice, because it's rarely over 70 degrees (when the inland part of CA is baking hot, the fog is sucked right up to Ocean beach and it stays cool. It's not really a swimsuit type beach at all, kind of like the Oregon beaches are for 11 months of the year.

I had a beautiful ride on my trusty lugged steel Schwinn Daly City bike, and got an hour and a half of much needed fresh coastal air and sunshine. I forgot my camera though, so pictures to come on my next SF trip.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Marching in

The date: Sunday, March 2, 2008
The time: 9:00 am, Coffee People (oops, I mean Starbucks) at SW 6th & Jackson.

The crew: Tony, Greg, Dave, Fergus and Sage (of Sorella Forte).

The route: Rock Creek loop, return via NW Thompson & 53rd.

The nitty gritty: A nice slow pace from PSU up Terwilliger had me efforting harder than I should have. We ran mostly single file, with a few rotations before Dosch. The climb up Dosch was tempting for Dave, who showed some early season form in establishing an early gap. JB illustrated tactics to Dave that me (his domestique) was dragging ass with his tongue hanging out 50 meters behind him, and that gapping a teammate early on wasn't typically a great strategy for a sprint/win contender.

We re-grouped at the top of Dosch for JB to fuel the mini-van (please remember to bring a couple of bucks each Sunday to kick in for gas for the coach/support van). We formed a very nice paceline after a few miles on Skyline and rode it to the tune of a 18 mph average out to Cornelius Pass. The drop down bumpy pot-holey Rock Creek was uneventful this week.

After the bumps though, things changed: After strategically isolating the main sprint threat Tony, Greg set a heart and lung destroying tempo lead-out for sprinter Dave. Greg jumped left, Dave was on his wheel. Tony was on Dave's wheel . Tony gave his all, Greg pulled off with 150 M to go, and Dave held on to win the sprint!

Strategy/misinformation came to light when Sage rolled up to me on the climb and said "I didn't get the memo about the sprint". Sage is strong, benevolent, and a FOF (Friend Of Fergus) and I hope we see her on a lot more Cyclisme rides. Sage and Fergus would definitely have factored into the sprint, but I guess did not know about the location.

Tony killed the climb, and killed me every time I threw a little attack jump up a hill. Get this man to a race, pronto!

Fergus seemed to be suffering a bit at times, then would re-surge and go off the front, etc. Sage rocks, 'nuff said. Dave and Tony are both looking itching for some road race action. I'm looking to domestique one or both of these guys to some podiums.